by Emily Parsons
Male victims of domestic violence are being asked to take part in a pioneering study by the University of Cumbria.
Men in an abusive or aggressive relationship are asked to take part, with the aim of highlighting ‘hidden hurt’.
Figures suggest that one in every three victims of domestic violence is male, but the care and counselling on offer for men is said to be far from equal.
Dr Liz Bates, a senior lecturer in applied psychology at the university, began the research project this week.
She explained: “In society at the moment, men’s victimization or men’s experience in relationships around conflict, violence and aggression are not as well understood because they’re not well talked about.”
The range of incidents Dr Bates is keen to learn more about is wide; from physical and verbal acts of violence to psychological and emotional abuse which can include isolation from friends and family, being bullied and humiliated, or being manipulated around parenting/children.
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members can be considered abusive.
The growth in social media has also increased the scope for potential abuse, even without direct contact.
Trolling and placing false or malicious information online has been highlighted in recent high profile abuse cases, as has incidents of revenge porn and stalking.
“Men may not realise they’re in an abusive relationship, but anything that limits or makes a person subordinate and dependent is a form of abuse,” Dr Bates said.
“It could be exploiting their resources or depriving them of the means for independence by regulating their everyday behaviour.
“For men to face up to, this too can be traumatic.”
All the research will be anonymous.
Participants are invited to answer an online questionnaire, which will be used to capture details of incidents.
To take part, visit https://cumbria.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/mensexperiencesofconflict
Dr Bates has significant experience in this area, having completed a PHD on the subject.
She is also a trustee with the Mankind charity which annually receives calls from male victims across all age ranges and professions.
“There’s a lack of awareness about men’s experiences which, with my research, I’d really like to highlight and help people understand,” she said.
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